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Opel is the next target of the diesel defeat device hit squad

Researchers allege that GM's European subsidiary is following in VW's footsteps, disengaging its pollution controls under certain circumstances.

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BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 13: The Opel logo stands at an Adam Opel car dealership on May 13, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. A German environmental group, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, in cooperation with German media organizations, claims that after conducting extensive tests on Opel Zafira and Astra diesel models that the cars use an illegal, built-in system that turns off the emissions reduction mechanism during 90% of real-time driving situations. The accusations come in the wake of the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Adam Opel AG is owned by General Motors. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Sean Gallup, Getty Images

Ever since news broke that Volkswagen was intentionally deceiving emissions regulations using secret software injected into its diesel vehicles, the world's regulators have been on a witch-hunt. The latest company to fall victim to this pitchfork mob is GM's European subsidiary Opel, according to German researchers.

Safety inspector TÜV Nord is claiming it found evidence of defeat-device software in Opel's diesel vehicles, Forbes reports. The group alleges that Opel's oil-burners will shut down exhaust treatment systems in certain conditions, including high engine speeds, high road speeds and high altitudes.

Opel thinks TÜV is the only thing that's high. In a statement, the automaker reiterated its stance that it does not include defeat devices, and that the testing methods used to come to this conclusion were not shared with the automaker and thus cannot be evaluated further.

"Based on our own and independent measurements and on the experience with experiments published by DUH before, we do not believe that these results are objective or scientifically founded," the statement says. "Tailpipe emissions control systems are complicated and integrated. This complex system cannot be cut into single parameters. The interaction is to be understood holistically in combination of conditions and elements of the control system."

Whether or not deceit is in play here, it once again stresses the need to take diesel emissions testing out of the lab and onto the road. Only by driving these vehicles on roads, like typical drivers, can we get a better idea of what these cars are sending into the atmosphere. Thankfully, both US and European regulators have recognized this, and real-world testing is slated to begin soon.